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Site Funding. Supporting Members. Q & A.

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Manny:
So I thought I would start a topic on site funding, as it does crop up from time to time, and again today:


--- Quote from: cufflinks on March 11, 2015, 01:05:06 PM ---How does one become a supporting and or sustaining member.

--- End quote ---

** Donation Link Here **

That question was as a result of a query about the upload image feature having been turned off some months ago (edit: now switched back on).

So I will dial back first with some history.

When the site was started way back in 2007, it was on the usual few dollars a month 'GoDaddy' shared type of hosting. After moving hosts a few times because such services are crap except for Mom and Pop type sites, traffic was such that we had to use a non-shared environment to avoid lag and downtime. That typically means private servers, dedicated servers or VPS/VDS type deals that cost more. We were hacked once or twice which necessitated off site backups (which are not free). Then we had to move the site out of the US in order to avoid DMCA's, threats of lawsuits from US agencies and other American legal silliness. So we now host in the UK.

Everyone says "Oh, hosting is dirt cheap". Yes it is, if when your site goes down you have to open a ticket, and two days later a bloke called Gupta in India replies it and says "Did you try to reboot your computer?" and then its two days till the next response.  :'(   We have a host where if something breaks, I call up, and a bloke called Brian or Geoffrey fixes it while I am on the phone. That level of service has a price tag.

In the 'golden' days of the 'mail order bride' business, which we caught the tail end of, advertisers were coming out of the walls and queuing up to pay our bills. Now the MOB business is a shadow of its former self, we find sites like the huge Aweb and former industry darlings like Elena's don't want to pay their bills to sites like this (or in the latter case need to be chased for 6 months to pay). Why you don't see their ads here any more. We used to use Google to serve ads here too, but Google classed us as an 'adult' site as there are a few photos of scantily clad ladies around the site and other unspecified 'adult' content, so they now refuse to serve ads here. As time allows, I am looking at other ad servers, including adult networks (!), but it takes time to put in place.

Meanwhile, the site trucks along full of eight years of photos and content, growing daily, costing money every month. Our image folders are *huge* and a few months ago when we were again running out of space, I suspended image uploading in order that I can manually review what images we need to keep. For example, an Obama joke image from four years ago in Off Topic on page 75 of a 500 page topic probably isn't important (we need not pay to host that). A blokes photo on a TR of the Potemkin Steps is more relevant, and that can only be done manually. So over a few months, I am up to page 751 of several thousand pages of our images.

It has always been the way that the site must be self-funding. As with any enterprise, it has to pay its own way to be viable. It also has to carry some reserves for ongoing tech work, software upgrades, new ideas, etc.

However it is done, the site needs a little bit of cash every month, generated from itself, to survive without costing me money personally. So a while back, I put a "Donate to RUA" on the ad rotator. So far, only two members have done so as a one off, and earned the heady title of "Supporting Member". I will find the direct link for anyone that wishes to throw a few coins into the bowl and post it on the topic.

But looking forward, with a shortage of advertisers that want to actually pay, and with minimal member contributions, apart from ads like "Wet Chloe Wants You Tonight on Cam" how does a site like this generate a few thousand dollars a year in order to be self funding in light of the MOB industry being on its last legs?

So, lets discuss, and I will happily answer questions.

shakespear:

--- Quote from: Manny on March 11, 2015, 04:29:37 PM ---So, lets discuss, and I will happily answer questions.

--- End quote ---

What percentage of the monthly operating costs (including perhaps a 10% reserve) does the monthly ad revenue cover?

Manny:

--- Quote from: shakespear on March 11, 2015, 04:45:06 PM ---
--- Quote from: Manny on March 11, 2015, 04:29:37 PM ---So, lets discuss, and I will happily answer questions.

--- End quote ---

What percentage of the monthly operating costs (including perhaps a 10% reserve) does the ad revenue cover?

--- End quote ---

At the moment, I am probably subsidising it a tad. On a good month it may break even. The last few months we are teetering on falling into the red if we haven't done so already. The 'accounts' are not to the dime you understand as the site isn't big enough to be ring fenced that way as we run a few sites on the server, but we are probably just dipping into the red as RUA goes.

None of this is big money, so not critical, but the site should self fund, so even a few dollars in the red is nonetheless, red.

shakespear:

--- Quote from: Manny on March 11, 2015, 04:55:37 PM ---None of this is big money, so not critical, but the site should self fund, so even a few dollars in the red is nonetheless, red.

--- End quote ---

I agree.  But you are placed in the position of trying to self-fund promotion of the buggywhip.

I'd suggest you impose a $5 per year fee on members once they get to 25 posts.  A lifetime membership would be $50.  If anybody that regulary posts on this forum is too cheap to send you $5 a year by PayPal then we really don't need them here cluttering up the place. 

Might thin out the deadweight on the forum.  Moby would have to pay at least $25 per year for all of his alias ids.

In that spirit, in spite of the fact I am now poor as a churchmouse and I have zero intention or interest in finding a wife in the FSU, I want to be your first Lifetime Member.  I pledge $50.  You're a good bloke. 

Anathema:
I'm a member of several forums with paid subscriptions, I've also donated when asked, and I click ads to help out, purely because I really like the sites and would hate to see them disappear.  One is very similar to this forum.

The difference with those sites and this one is that they are well run.  They don't let the few trolls ruin the "mood" of the place just to drive arguments to drive posts.  They don't let mods pick and choose to delete posts just because the mod doesn't like the post or member that posted it, like with my posts earlier this week.  They are very transparent when decisions about deleting posts or topics are made.  They do their best to create a good community where users aren't afraid to share content.  Basically, the exact opposite of this forum.

You, Manny, allow a few to poison the water here and are poisonous yourself occasionally.  Your very first post to me when I first joined was condescending.  As a brand new member, only a few months ago, I instantly felt the negative "vibe" here once I started reading threads.  The "MOB" business could be booming right now and this forum would still be sinking unless you actually took measures to foster a good community.  It's obvious you have no desire to do that.

The numerous threads here, telling you there's a problem are ignored, locked, or deleted.  You can point the finger at rising costs and a declining industry; those obviously play a part, but you're not stupid, you know the real problem is the poisonous community you encourage.

There's no way I would donate or pay anything to this site.  There's no way I would ever recommend this site to anyone else.  I think you'll have another failed forum on your hands soon and you only have yourself to blame.

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